The Birth of Nora Ivy (Homebirth Cesarean)

by Sasha Veitch on February 7, 2014

Trigger Warning – Planned homebirth turned cesarean


Nora Ivy Born at home into her father’s loving arms

That’s a lie.

I used it as a mantra the days before I went into labour. And then I laboured hard. Oh, did I labour. It was difficult and beautiful. It was natural and felt impossible. I yelled and swore and moaned. I laughed. I cried. We wanted so badly to have our little one at home. I trusted my midwife. I did not trust or believe in her protocol. My body does not listen to protocol.

But after 29 hours of hard labour I was in no mood to argue with protocol. Nobody was. It was time to go to the hospital. Time has no place in childbirth. Nothing was wrong, the clock had just run out (my midwife was kind enough to sit nervously by for a few extra hours). My natural homebirth turned and gave me everything I wanted to avoid. I consented to an epidural and Pitocin. I did not consent to a vag exam by an arrogant resident doctor; she was the worst. When my clock ran out for a second time at the hospital I signed my name on the consent form: Cesarean Section. My husband snuck a video camera into the OR. He captured the whole thing. I have watched it dozens of times. I have watched it again and again, moving the cursor to the moment they pulled her from me. They cut the cord immediately. I have apologized to my daughter for that. They whisked her away and she cried for me. I could not get to her, immobilized on the crucifix where I was forced to sacrifice myself for my sweet girl. I heard my husband ask for skin-on-skin and they said that it wasn’t really possible. I know they lied, it just wasn’t convenient. They bundled her in three layers and all I could see was her face. My husband repeats “It’s a girl. Nope. No penis.” over and over. I can hear him crying.

My peaceful homebirth got railroaded into a sterile operating room for no other reason than my body moving too slowly, at its own pace. My daughter was sunny side up which typically means an exceptionally long labour. I feel sorry for my midwives who had to push me into something we all knew was wrong: they are not allowed to be the midwives they want to be. I feel sorry for my husband who laboured right along beside me and had to watch my heart break. I feel sorry for myself because a hundred times over I could have had that baby on my own terms. I feel sorry for my daughter because her first experience Earthside was being pulled from my abdomen by her head. I feel sorry for that nasty resident who seems to think birth is something she can control and manipulate, something that needs to be fixed. She is so very wrong. I am not ashamed to feel sorrow about what should have been the best day of my life: rules and guidelines made it bittersweet. I do not believe that our surgery saved any lives. I expected overwhelming joy and was given a painfully inaccurate lesson in not trusting my body. I will never become a parent for the first time again. They took that from me. I am not ashamed to feel this way. Our system is flawed. It took so much from me. I have spent the last few months trying to see the beauty in the way my daughter was born. I am still mourning the way I wanted it to be. It is there, in that video, in my memories. I try not to play “what if?” but most days that’s all I can do. I have a scar for the rest of my life – through skin and muscle, into organ, through my heart and into the deepest part of my soul. The worst part of it all is that I am not the only one. I wish for all of womankind that I could bear this pain alone, but I am not alone. I am sorry that it happened that way.

Our system is flawed, our bodies are not. Something needs to change.

Nora Ivy Pulled from her mother by a stranger

I will learn to see the beauty in that.

Nora Ivy

Written by: Virginia Heron

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma February 8, 2014 at 5:39 am

Wow. Your birth story has me tearing up over my morning coffee. It is beautifully written and I admire your conviction not to feel ashamed for the way your birth went. I think too often we are told that it’s okay to have trouble letting go of the birth we expected to have; I think this advice is well -meaning but unfair and unhelpful. Until culturally we can resolve our problems… our protocols… around birth… your story will be common. I am truly sorry for that. But I can see that your dear Nora has one strong, compassionate mama, and that will affect her so much more than what happened on her birth day. peace be with you.


Stephanie February 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I really feel for you, Virginia. When you’ve laboured for so long, the energy to stick to your guns wears thin. Beyond tired, experiencing new levels of pain, and then being expected to make new decisions for yourself and your child in the midst of it – no, it doesn’t seem right, especially if you and your baby were not in any danger. The system is flawed, I agree. I feel it more today than ever, being at 41 weeks and being told I will need to be induced first thing in the morning – what?! No thanks… yet, with the long weekend approaching and the lack of staff at the hospitals in my area, this is what I am told is best for baby and me… “just in case” any risks develop, because the longer I am pregnant, the greater the chance of those risks. I can’t really argue against that, but in my heart I do not want to be induced, so what do I do? I can’t say I feel good about going against my doctor’s wishes either. I told her I really didn’t want to be induced and managed to get her to think about it an extra day. Now all I can hope for is that I go into labour naturally within the next 24 hours and that I can have the planned birth I want. I am so sorry that you did not get yours.


Virginia February 12, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Thank you for your comment Stephanie. I was faced with an induction post dates too. So not fun or fair. I did a home herbal induction and it was not pleasant.
I hope with everything I am that you got the birth you imagined, and can be at peace with it in the end.


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